In this article, Shoshana Kordova does a great job of explaining the Hebrew terms rosh gadol (“big head”) vs. rosh katan (“small head”). While telling someone that they have a big head may be career limiting in English speaking circles, telling them they are rosh gadol is paying them a high compliment. Rosh gadol describes the ability to see the big picture as opposed to focusing on the small tasks. Hit up the article for a helpful discussion of the difference in these two types of people and why organizations have (and need) both.
Years ago a great post on the Joel on Software blog discussed how developers would ideally be rosh gadol. In reality, your team will consist of both rosh gadol and rosh katan resources. As a project manager or technical lead, identifying which type of thinker each team member is can help you guide them towards tasks they’ll be more comfortable and efficient with. It might also help you manage your expectations when dealing with these two types of individuals.
I’m launching the blog with all of the fanfare and pomp reserved for new public-access cable TV shows. If this goes as planned, my first post will pass quietly like the sound of a tree falling in an empty forest. Instead of searching for something profound and meaningful to use as the cornerstone for this little encyclopedia of Keil, I decided to just blurt out something and avoid all of the procrastination normally associated with trying to write the perfect post.
Fortunately, today revealed a pretty good topic for discussion when we extended an offer for a new staff member who is a former co-worker that I’m really excited to work with again. We won’t have his response for a couple of days still, but the incident brings to light something that I think is very important for project managers and those in leadership positions in general: The power of a positive (or hopeful) viewpoint. Three weeks ago, I learned that one of my developers had taken a position with another organization. She was a fantastic contributor on our team and we all knew that she would be tough to replace. It would have been easy at that point to focus on the problem (“great, we’ll never find another Lisa”) and skulk about, projecting that negative attitude on my team.
In my opinion, good leaders regularly find opportunity in the challenges they face. Now I’m aware that some situations have no silver lining and simply require the team to grind out the problem. In most cases, however, opportunities can be found by looking at the issues through the right lens. In our recent situation, the challenge of losing a good team member brought the opportunity to bring on someone who will be even better. Even in those cases where little or no chance for benefit can be seen, remember that a positive outlook that is focused on the end goal will help your team drudge through to a resolution.